First, let me thank the wonderful people at EQS: https://www.eqsuk.com/ for being so kind as to provide these products for us to test, on behalf of the United Kingdom Quilters Website.
The product I am reviewing is the Artisan Apron by Janet Clare, it retails from her Esty page at £11.99. https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/184039707/artisan-apron-pattern-make-and-embellish
The presentation of the pattern had an old fashion feel of quality about it. The instructions presented in book form, were clearly printed and numbered, in a two-step process; the section written in capitals with the how-too, following behind.
A sizing chart and clear fabric guide on the back allowed you to work the fabric requirements with ease. The pattern itself had the seam allowances included. This is always a bonus when working out actual fabric requirements.
On to the pattern itself, made from good quality paper, which ironed flat – no steam – with ease, it was very clearly printed and I liked the hints and tips section on how to adjust the pattern if required.
The pattern also contained a fabric layout guide for the different widths of fabric.
I always trace my patterns as this allows me to reuse the original if I change size. When tracing you had to pay close attention, some of the lines although clearly marked were slightly fainter when it came to re-drawing them.
Because of the strong paper it also folded back up well and was able to sit back within the instructions.
Granted the opportunity to review this pattern because I always try to source fabric and such items from cheaper less standard sources; this product is designed with embellishment and personal touches in mind creating a great opportunity to do just that. Off I went on my little jaunts to the many charity shops my hometown has to offer. It was my lucky day because not only did I find 100% cotton bedding it cost me a grand total of £2 or two items.
One white double duvet and one white fitted sheet. I washed both on boil wash with a medical rinse – extra rinse cycles – and a good air on the washing line.
I know how to find the grain line on fabric so using this did not present any additional challenges for me. It did give me however, extra fabric as I made a mistake when I was embellishing it with additional embroidery. I had not noticed one of the straps had caught underneath my embroidery hoop as I was sewing a design. Due to the detail, unpicking was impossible; I had to re-cut another front panel and start again.
The instructions advise you to make a toile first. Nevertheless, if this is your first time reading a pattern you may not know what this is. It does say that a list of frequently asked questions was available from her website; however, I could not find immediate answers to that question.
Once my pieces were cut out of my fabric I began the construction; first assembling the front sections and then the lining.
The instructions say to make the whole apron up before you embellish it. However, as I was choosing to machine embroider mine I only wanted to have the front layer embroidered and not the whole thing. Point 19 states that you can now embroider and embellish, yet at point 11 it would have been nice for her to mention that if you did not want to see the underside of the embroidery that you could do it at that point. Although I do recognise that most people with any sewing experience will choose to do that anyway.
Some designs which I chose to place on the apron.
Back of pocket before I sewn it onto the apron,
and the Pocket Front.
Overall, the pattern was easy to follow. My gripes were that it failed to show you how to clip curves – beginners might need to know this – as there is more than one way to clip curves depending on the type of curve. For the curve clipping, I would recommend a small pair of sharp scissors for this task.
In addition, the fact that she uses the term loopy tacking, I wish she had put – tailors tacks – their correct name, giving beginners the chance to find them and to learn how to make them.
When it comes to working on point 16, sewing shoulder seams. This requires careful concentration. This does not imply that it is difficult just fiddly and there is room for error, for beginners be prepared to unpick at this point.
What I did find I liked was the endless top stitching around the entire garment. The pattern was such that you started at one point and ended at the same point, not needing to stop start at different sections.
When visiting her website: http://www.janetclare.co.uk/home.htm I discovered that Janet has a logo called Hugo. In addition, she asks anybody that makes her patterns if they would like to include Hugo on their work. She provides a template of Hugo for hand embroidery. I did a digitised version of him and turned him into a machine-embroidered patch.
I placed him on the side of my apron.
In conclusion, this was a fun pattern to make and the fact that you can embellish it adds to the creativity of it.
Simply summed up:
• Nice Presentation
• Quality Instructions
• Strong Pattern Paper
• Reasonable Selling Price
• Sewing Range from beginner – with guidance – to experienced sewer.
• Drawbacks: the terminology needed to be explained a little more.
Now I have a nice work apron.